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Utah man apparently killed family, self

Neighbor LaRue Simpson looked past the police tape at the home where the family of four was found shot to death.Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

ROY, Utah — A Utah man apparently shot and killed his wife and two young children before turning the gun on himself on Father’s Day, stunning neighbors on their quiet, suburban street who described the man Monday as a happy, doting father.

Officers discovered the bodies Sunday night: Russell Smith, 29; his wife, Shawna Smith, 26; and their children, 6-year-old daughter Tylee and 2-year-old son Blake.

It appeared Russell Smith shot the others and himself, and investigators were not looking for any suspects, said police Lieutenant Kevin Smith, who is not related to the family.

‘‘Sweetest little family you ever saw. I can’t imagine,’’ next-door neighbor LaRue Simpson said Monday. ‘‘Something must have gone really wrong yesterday because they were not like that at all.’’


Police received a 911 call about an assault at the house in Roy — a city of about 38,000 people roughly 30 miles north of Salt Lake City — at 10 p.m. on Father’s Day. The call came from a relative who had stopped by the residence.

There was no history of police responding to the home, Smith said. Investigators talked to family members and were trying to uncover a motive.

The relative who discovered the family decided to come by the house after failing to hear from anyone there since an afternoon text message from Shawna Smith, Kevin Smith said. He declined to identify the relative or say what the text message said.

Neighbor Lynn Everley said the Smiths were a quiet family, and he never heard any fights or saw any indication of problems at their home. He said the family lived in the house for at least several years — as long as he has been in the neighborhood — and the couple seemed happy with their jobs.

Everley said Russell Smith was employed in the nearby city of Ogden at a company that worked with military supplies. Shawna Smith worked at Busy Bee’s Playhouse, a Roy child care facility, for nearly nine years, director Jennifer Lindstrom said.


‘‘They’re a couple that you would never have expected this to happen,’’ Everley said. ‘‘But then, what makes a person snap?’’

Simpson said neighbors were having trouble coming to grips with the deaths. Simpson described Russell Smith as a sweet man and doting father who loved the Atlanta Braves and umpired kids baseball games for a local league.

‘‘He was always taking kids and his gear off to the ballgame,’’ Simpson said.

The Smiths had a large trampoline in their backyard covered in a safety net, and they flew an American flag on a pole in their tidy front yard.

Two cars were parked in the driveway Monday as police cordoned off the single-story home. A woman stopped to drop off a bouquet of flowers but declined to talk with reporters.

Associated Press writers Lindsay Whitehurst in Salt Lake City and Courtney Bonnell in Phoenix contributed to this report.